A Dozen Eggs - Image Update - Self-Portrait

This has been, by far, the most difficult part of my project. How to represent oneself! I have discussed this in detail within my written logbook, so I won't dwell too much on it here, but self-representation is a very difficult thing to do. As well as challenges with the shooting itself, there are a myriad of decisions that need to be taken into consideration, mainly in terms of how I fit into this project successfully. I am, by its very nature, the only one of the 'eggs' that has made a conscious decision to create an album representing myself to others, and the decision of 'intimacy' and 'how much to reveal about myself' is a consciously slow and purposeful act. It is something I will be working on over the next few months. I have included a couple of shots below as a starter. These represent precious moments that I have at home - playing with the dog and enjoying a coffee on a Sunday morning - simple pleasures that are rare in my life because my work keeps me away from home for 5 out of 7 days.

A Dozen Eggs - Image Update - Mother

I recently shot some images of my Mother, for my major OCA project - A Dozen Eggs. Whilst the images will not be going into the final project itself, one image will be used for the 'cover' of the project (as a representation of 'Mother Hen'). I have chosen the following shot, which was a candid shot taken in the grounds of Speke Hall in Liverpool:

My ideas for representation of the project (which may well change) is currently as follows:

1. A large eggbox (for a dozen eggs) will be used as the 'case' for the images. This will have the project title (etc) (as well as the image of my Mother, shown above) on the top of the box.
2. Each sibling (egg) will be represented by five images chosen from a selection of images shot to represent a specific 'moment' in the individual's life.
3. Each sibling will write a short account of the images, which will be included as an introduction to their 'section'.
4. The images will be contained within a small folder - the likes of those given by street-side photo-labs. This represents the 'snapshot' nature of the family album. Each folder will contain 6 'eggs'.
5. The images will be developed as 4"x6" prints (as per the 'family snapshot' of old). These will be C-Type Metallic prints, published for this project as a 'one-off Portfolio Edition'.

In addition to my Mother, I have shot the images for myself as well as 2 brothers (Godfrey and Steven) and 1 sister (Linda). Over the next few days I am planning a further 2 shoots, with 6 more to follow over the next couple of months.

Major Influences on OCA Advanced Project

Of all the photographers that I have been looking into over the past few months, I think the most influential to date has been Stephen Gill. I have commented on his work rather extensively within my Learning Log, so will not add too much here, other than to point any readers to his work via the link. I own quite a few of his books (and was recently gifted a copy of his ‘Field Studies’), which I have found enlightening. More than anything, Gill has made me realise that I can steer away from ‘conventional’ thinking, and simply explore ideas in the way that I feel is the right way to explore them – without fear of conforming to an ideal of what photographic critics may think. My photography is becoming more and more conceptual and artistic, using photography as a vehicle to attain what I am trying to say, rather than the photographs themselves being ‘all-encompassing’. That is not to say that I’m averse to standards photographic ideals of composition, but they do not ‘bind’ me anymore; if they do not allow me to ‘speak’, then I will ignore the rules in order to say what I need to say.

My personal project, ‘A Dozen Eggs’, focuses on my family and explores a private world of interaction and familiarity amongst 12 children (my siblings and I). There are many ‘moments’ explored – some private, some emotional, some celebratory and others – an intimate portrait of a family that is at once familiar, but also becoming less familiar with one another as we age and drift. As well as the likes of Stephen Gill influencing this work, I have also been exploring the works of Paul Graham and KayLynn Deveney, as well as the likes of Bruce Davidson (whose documentary work I hugely admire). I have also recently come across the work of 3 photographers that I shall be exploring further over the next few months: Christian Sunde, Tom Zimmerman and Arthur Freed. All three have made a point of exploring their private world in order to deliver photographic insights of what verbal (or written) communication could never achieve, and I am fascinated to see what I might discover.

OCA - Advanced Course Update

I started my final course with the OCA a few months ago (Level 3 Advanced), but it’s been a struggle to keep up my electronic journal via this blog. I am living away from home at the moment (working away during the week) and have had no internet connectivity so I’ve reverted back to old methods and decided to keep a hand-written logbook instead. What I intend to do is try and complement this with regular (as much as possible) electronic updates that can provide some relevant links to exhibitions and the like.

However, I have also been keeping a visual learning log, which I have been adding to weekly and which is now rather extensive. Within this I have five sections: (1) Critical Text Studies; (2) Critical Photographer Studies; (3) Influential Imagery Specific to my Project; (4) Further Influential Imagery; (5) Photographic Essay. For the imagery sections, I have appended notes relating to what I think of the work and how it has helped to refine and develop my project (or future photographic/visual ideas).

As far as my photography (from a practical perspective) is concerned, I have only done 2 major shoots over recent months (which I shall post some examples in my next instalment). This has focused on my Mother (who will only feature on the cover of my project) and a self-portrait study (which was particularly challenging, considering the reportage style that I have developed over the past couple of years). However, I have an extensive shoot planned for this weekend, which will allow me to put my first assignment submission in. The subsequent submissions should then flow relatively quickly, as I have a planned series of shoots over the next couple of months. This will allow the practical side of my course to ‘catch-up’ with the academic side, so that my aim of a Spring 2011 finish will be back on the cards.